The Toddler at the End of This Book

12.02.08 Baby's 30th Week


Have you ever read The Monster at the End of this Book (starring lovable, furry old Grover)? I highly recommend it. Without spoiling the ending I'll say that on each page Grover begs you not to turn the next page. And again and again you do.

Well, I'm relating to Grover right now and I'm feeling reluctant to write this week's post. I've been rereading previous posts, and it seems to me that every time I write one, Leo gets older. Sure, he's more fun. He has more hair, more ability to communicate, to laugh, to sit up, make waves in the tub... But so fast?!

I'm really looking forward to when Leo can nap for longer, express his needs more clearly, play on his own more, ingest actual solids (rather than sort of letting a little gruel-like substance into his mouth every other time I offer), and do all the wonderful things that he'll be doing before we know it. But some days, like today, I can wait. Because I love him just the way he is, and I'm just getting the hang of how he is.

Soon, I'll be putting my baby in daycare and his world will not only expand to include many other people, it will also include long hours without me right there with him. I'm pretty sure he can take it, but I'm dragging my feet about the whole thing. For one, when I spend less of my time with Leo, I'll have more time to work. To exercise. To make dinner. To see friends. To read books. After clearing my schedule to devote myself so intensely to someone else, the responsibility to live my own life is an intimidating concept.

Plus, the faster he grows up, the sooner we'll have a third opinionated member of the family who can pipe up about what he thinks of what we're doing. That's really going to complicate things. Sure, right now Leo can express pretty clearly that he's not into banana (and I can just keep trying--they say it takes 18 exposures for a baby to come around to some foods!). But someday in the too-quickly-approaching future, we'll be sitting down for dinner and Leo will be able to tell me exactly why he doesn't enjoy the couscous. Or we'll be bundling up to leave the house for school and Leo will have a better idea.

Last weekend we finally got around to childproofing. And as soon as we finished, it occurred to me that it won't be long before Leo outgrows our childproofing and takes over the house. Now that I think about it, I think he'll be so much less frustrated once he can crawl to get the things he sees, and once he feels a little more in control of things.

Leo may become more frustrating to parent as he enters toddlerhood, with its battles and tensions. But I can see that he's already eager to move on to the next thing, to grow and learn and change. And when I think about it that way, of course I want to help him. As long as I can still put him in footsy PJs at the end of every day and tuck him in, then tiptoe back to kiss his cheek as he sleeps with his lips parted in a tiny little smile, I'm ready for whatever the next day brings.

Couscous with Pomegranate